On a near-weekly basis, people ask me what they should do to become a professional writer. Before giving them advice, I often ask the same questions:
1.) What do you want to write? Fiction, non-fiction, articles, books, poems, etc.
2.) Have you been published before? Anywhere. Local newspaper, school publication, magazine, website, etc. If not, you need to before going for a reputable place. This may mean writing for free at first.
3.) Do you have a degree in journalism, English, public relations, technical writing, creative writing or communications? In freelance, it’s rarely asked for, but in full-time jobs, it’s often required (or just some degree with writing clips may do).
The advice I give for after figuring out #1 and completing #2 and #3 will probably be the topic of another blog. But these are the starting points.